Traumatic brain injury: Risks of epilepsy and implications for medicolegal assessment

Authors: Christensen J.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a potentially preventable cause of epilepsy. Increasing incidence among army personnel and the high incidence among children and young people raise concern. This article presents a review of selected studies dealing with the risks of TBI and the risk of posttraumatic epilepsy in humans. The incidence of persons admitted to hospital with TBI has decreased in developed countries in recent years. However, there is little change in TBI-associated deaths, and the decrease in hospitalization may merely reflect that more people with head injury are cared for on an outpatient basis. It is clear that epilepsy is a frequent consequence of brain injury, even many years after the injury. However, several well-controlled studies have been unable to identify therapies that prevent the development of epilepsy after TBI. Posttraumatic epilepsy has significant implications for the affected individuals, family, and society. Despite several interventions used to prevent posttraumatic epilepsy, the only proven "intervention" to date is to prevent TBI from occurring.

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Epilepsia. 2012 Sep;53 Suppl 4:43-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2012.03612.x.